Interview with Juyeon Park from South Korea

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Juyeon Park

From a young age, Juyeon Park, a product designer, has nurtured a passion for art and design. However, what truly struck a chord with Park was the realisation that design transcends mere aesthetics, it acts as a means to tackle real-world problems and positively affect people's lives.

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

Hello, I'm Juyeon Park, a Product Designer.

I graduated from Hongik University in South Korea with a bachelor's degree in Digital Media Design. My professional experience includes collaborating with industry-leading startups, which are the top revenue-generating companies within their respective domains in South Korea, spanning across sectors such as edutech, social dating, and healthcare.

Additionally, I furthered my expertise by obtaining a master's degree in Interaction Design from Hongik University, specialising in Human-Computer Interaction, and successfully completing the program.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?

I chose to pursue a career in design because I was intrigued by its potential to solve user-centric problems and contribute to societal advancement. Since a young age, I've harboured a passion for art and design, but what truly resonated with me was the understanding that design goes beyond mere aesthetics; it serves as a tool to confront real-world challenges and positively impact people's lives.

The idea of harnessing design to address pressing societal issues and uplift communities deeply inspired me. Throughout my professional journey, I've found immense fulfillment in utilising design to meet user needs while concurrently striving to make meaningful societal contributions. Whether it's crafting accessible technologies, championing social change through design, or enhancing experiences for individuals and communities, I am driven by the convergence of problem-solving and social impact inherent in the field of design.

3Tell us more about your agency/company, job profile, and what you do.

I started my career as a Visual Interaction Designer at Elice Group, the leading coding education platform startup in South Korea. Currently, I serve as a Product Designer at NRISE, where my responsibilities include fulfilling the design for WIPPY, South Korea's top social dating service, and QUAT, a home training service.

Additionally, I launched the 'Harusali' project as a designer with the freelance developer-designer group NEXTERS. Furthermore, as the Interaction Design Lead at midiDICE, I collaborated with esteemed institutions such as the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, Museum of Contemporary Art Busan, Art Center Nabi, and and Seoul National University Urban Data Science Lab on projects like 'Interplaytions' and 'Doodlering', and 'MMWD'.

Recently, I had the opportunity to teach 'UX Basics and User Research' at a UX/UI bootcamp as part of the IT workforce development program by the South Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor, where I mentored over 100 junior designers.

4What does “design” mean to you?

"Design" to me encompasses a multifaceted approach that extends beyond the creation of visually pleasing products. It serves as a catalyst for problem-solving, societal progress, and meaningful impact.

From my perspective, design is about identifying challenges, understanding user needs, and innovating solutions that positively influence society. It's a dynamic process that requires empathy, creativity, and strategic thinking to address diverse issues and enhance people's lives.

Throughout my career, I've witnessed how design can drive positive change, whether through inclusive solutions, advocacy for social causes, or enriching experiences for individuals and communities. Ultimately, design represents the intersection of creativity and functionality, with the power to shape our world for the better.

5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?
My preferred type of design is one that seamlessly integrates with the user experience, ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted connection. This approach not only avoids disrupting user actions but also enhances usability and fosters a positive impact on society. It aligns perfectly with my passion for problem-solving and social contribution within the design domain, making it my preferred choice.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?
In my perspective, good design is about boldly eliminating user discomforts and obstacles. It entails addressing challenges in a manner that enhances user experience and accessibility. By removing barriers and refining interactions, good design facilitates a seamless and intuitive journey for users, ultimately leading to increased satisfaction and effectiveness.
7How did you come up with the idea for your award-winning design?

Our award-winning design was born out of a shared concern among our team members, particularly Hee-eun Kwak, who served as both the Project Manager and UX/UI Designer. Hee-eun's keen awareness of the challenges faced by economically inexperienced young adults served as the catalyst for our project.

Together, we embarked on a journey to create a solution that would empower users to take control of their finances effectively. Through collaborative efforts and Hee-eun's leadership, we conceptualised Harusali as a transformative tool in personal finance management.

8What was your main source of inspiration for this design?

Our primary inspiration for this design came from our desire to make personal finance management more accessible and engaging for users. We drew inspiration from the concept of gamification, recognising its potential to transform mundane tasks into enjoyable experiences. By incorporating playful elements and a visually appealing interface, we aimed to create a platform that users would find not only practical but also enjoyable to use.

Additionally, we were inspired by the need for a more intuitive and user-centric approach to financial management, which guided our design decisions throughout the development process.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?

Growing up in South Korea has cultivated in me a profound appreciation for aesthetic design and a discerning eye. The country's rich pool of talented designers fosters a culture deeply rooted in design thinking, which translates into the development of visually captivating interfaces.

This cultural backdrop influences our design processes, enabling us to consistently deliver solutions that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also user-friendly. Moreover, meeting the high standards set by South Koreans naturally aligns with global expectations, ensuring that our designs resonate on a global scale.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the London Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

Winning the London Design Award is a tremendous honour for me and our team. It signifies recognition for our outstanding achievements and dedication to projects in the realm of design. It reinforces our commitment to pushing the boundaries of design to create ideal solutions while acknowledging our dedication to ideal innovation and user-centric design.

This award holds particular significance for the team members who tirelessly worked day and night. Special recognition goes to our colleague designer Hee-eun Kwak, who tirelessly collaborated on countless revisions to ensure the realisation of a user-friendly experience, and developers Kyung Moo An, Taehyun Lee, and Gowoon Choi, who contributed significantly to the project's success.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 London Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

Certainly! The project we submitted to the London Design Awards is called Harusali, an innovative finance management application designed to empower economically inexperienced young adults. Harusali revolutionises financial management by seamlessly allowing users to input monthly budgets, track expenses, and receive tailored real-time feedback based on spending habits.

We chose to enter this project into the awards because of its groundbreaking approach to financial management and its significant potential to positively impact users' financial habits. Moreover, Harusali's user-centric design, including the integration of a coin character for spending feedback and innovative Lottie technology for animations, sets it apart from traditional finance apps. Its success is further validated by its impressive 4.3 rating on the Google Play Store, reflecting its effectiveness in meeting user needs and preferences.

12What were the main challenges you faced during the design process, and how did you overcome them?

Throughout the design process, our primary challenges centered on establishing an engaging and efficient feedback mechanism within Harusali. Our objective was to convert mundane financial data into a visually captivating and user-friendly interface.

This demanded innovative strategies, such as creating a relatable coin character and integrating dynamic animations with expressive facial cues to drive the feedback system. Overcoming these hurdles entailed iterative testing and refinement, guided by user feedback, to ensure resonance with our target demographic and effective communication of financial insights in an appealing manner.

Furthermore, technical obstacles were tackled by leveraging expertise in real-time data analysis and implementing server techniques to ensure seamless expense tracking.

13How do you think winning this award will impact your future as a designer?
Winning this award would confirm our ongoing efforts to address user problems through design. It wouldn't drastically alter our approach; rather, it would reinforce our commitment to excellence and inspire us to keep pushing boundaries. We will continue striving to solve user issues effectively, knowing that our dedication and hard work are recognised and valued. This award would fuel our determination to maintain our high standards and drive us to excel further in the future.
14What are your top three (3) favourite things about our industry?

In the design industry, my top three favorite aspects are the diverse creative possibilities, collaborative opportunities, and the impact on user experience.

Firstly, I revel in exploring new ideas and devising innovative solutions as a product designer, inspired by the myriad creative avenues available in the industry. Secondly, within collaborative opportunities, I cherish the chance to work alongside talented, passionate, and inspiring team members. This perspective allows for more enriching and fulfilling collaborations.

Lastly, I am deeply gratified by witnessing how design positively influences users' lives, presenting exhilarating challenges in enhancing user experiences and realising the potential for tangible, real-world change.

15What sets your design apart from others in the same category?
In striving to make finance less intimidating and more user-friendly, Harusali sets itself apart. Particularly, it introduces a witty and personable dynamic coin character that directly interacts with users, offering feedback customised to their needs and preferences.
16What advice do you have for aspiring designers who want to create award-winning designs?
Refining your descriptions is crucial for effectively communicating key points, especially to those unfamiliar with your design. Seeking feedback from third parties can also be beneficial. Since you've become accustomed to your design, maintaining objectivity in evaluation can be challenging. Keeping these considerations in mind will lead to improved outcomes.
17What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
I would recommend prioritising exposure to continuously evolving designs. By immersing yourself in a diverse range of designs, your skills will naturally progress as your perspective expands. Furthermore, maintaining curiosity and exploring the integration of new software and diverse technologies can ignite inspiration and significantly enhance your abilities.
18Who has inspired you in your life and why?
I find inspiration from my colleagues around me. I believe there's always something to learn from others. Whether it's strengths to admire or weaknesses to learn from, there's always a lesson to be gained. Moreover, I appreciate receiving feedback from these colleagues. It allows me to refine myself each day based on constructive criticism.
19What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Discontentment. It involves continually seeking areas for improvement and striving to bridge those gaps. Progress often corresponds to the quality and quantity of such endeavours. This is what propels me forward in my life journey.
20Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

As the Project Manager and UX/UI Designer, I want to extend a big shoutout to Hee-eun Kwak, who spearheaded the project from start to finish. I also want to commend the outstanding developers, Kyung Moo An, Taehyun Lee, and Gowoon Choi, for their efforts in ensuring smooth interactions between users and the system.

Lastly, I'd like to recognise my own contribution in defining the persona of the coin character and animating it, which injected vitality and identity into the service.

Winning Entry

Harusali | 2023


Managing finances can be a challenge for economically inexperienced young adults, who often struggle to avoid unexpected expenses. Harusali …
(Read more at London Design Awards)

Juyeon Park

From a young age, Juyeon Park, a product designer, has nurtured a passion for art and design. However, what truly struck a chord with Park was the realisation that design transcends mere aesthetics, it acts as a means to tackle real-world problems and positively affect people's lives.

Read more about this interview with Yeaji Kim from the United States, the Gold Winner of the 2023 London Design Awards.